Final Thoughts on the Wisconsin vs Notre Dame Game

I don’t know why, but I just finished rewatching the entire Wisconsin/Notre Dame game despite already witnessing it in person at Soldier Field. And now I have some more thought out thoughts on the game.

Sports are dumb.

I’ll take the blame for the loss today because the Badgers are 0-2 when I go to Starbucks for a coffee on game day morning’s.

After rewatching the game, I want to go on a 36-hour bender of watching the 1994 Rose Bowl on a loop with my blood roughly 37-percent Spotted Cow.

Today’s 41-13 loss to Notre Dame is the low point of Paul Chryst’s seven seasons. 38 of Notre Dame’s 41 points came off turnovers or special teams. The offense and special teams are a mess three games into the season. The defense deserved so much better today.

There’s plenty of blame to go around, but UW’s offense is broken right now and change needs to happen. You can blame play-calling all you want, but when your QB struggles with just about everything, you are always going to look bad.

How little confidence do you have in your QB when you’re asking your Kicker, who struggles with anything over 40-yards, to kick a 50-plus yard field goal to cut it to an eight point game? The next question is: why is that QB out there?

Wisconsin safety Collin Wilder had one of the most impassioned postgame interviews I’ve heard in a long time.

Wilder called the finish to that game “atrocious” and “embarrassing.”

“The alumni, the guys that have laid this program out for us to what it is today, deserve better,” Wilder said. He went on to say the players need to apologize to all alums.

Running back Chez Mellusi said the game was within reach and then said “That shit is embarrassing,” referring to the fourth quarter collapse.

Wisconsin outgained Notre Dame 110-60 in the fourth quarter and only got outscored 31-3 and the defense was hardly at fault.

For those of you that know me, know that I’m a huge Paul Chryst guy. I think he’s a great coach and a lot of quarterbacks have made progress under Chryst both when he was the OC from 2005-2011 and now as the head coach.

John Stocco and Scott Tolzien made great progress under Chryst. Russell Wilson did in his short time in Madison, too. Jack Coan did, too, though not as quickly as people had hoped. Having said that, the inability to get Graham Mertz to progress is puzzling.

Graham Mertz has one touchdown pass, six interceptions and two lost fumbles in three games this season. For perspective sake, Russell Wilson threw four interceptions in 309 attempts in 2011.

It’s a tough day and tough season for the officially licensed Graham Mertz t-shirt sales.

Here are some of my thoughts on the game today and the 1-2 start:

1) Graham Mertz is Exhibit A on why prep football recruiting ratings are worthless. I’m not saying that he can’t still develop by any means, but he’s not the savior and at this point he may be better off sitting and watching for awhile.

2) The offensive line isn’t living up to the recruiting hype either. Players aren’t developing into stars and rotating in eight or nine linemen during a game can’t be helping the unit gain any measure of consistency.

3) Head Coach Paul Chryst’s offense used to employ a ton shifts, a ton of pre-snap and post-snap motions, jet sweeps and personnel groupings to keep defenses guessing. Where has that gone?

4) Special Teams have been a problem throughout Chryst’s tenure at UW, yet he has never changed the special teams coach or the approach. UW led 13-10 a handful of seconds into the fourth quarter when Notre Dame returned a kickoff for a TD and yada, yada, yada, the Badgers lost 41-13.

5) Wisconsin’s formula hasn’t changed since 1990: Control the ball with the run, avoid turnovers, win the field-position battle on special teams, play physical gritty defense. This team does only one of those four consistently well. That’s how you lose to Penn State and Notre Dame despite outgaining both.

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